Tasmanian Times

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

Economy

The ‘disappointing’ Peter Rathjen …

*Pic: Peter Rathjen, Guy Green and Lton Mayor Albert van Zetten*Pic from HERE

UNIVERSITY of Tasmania vice-chancellor Peter Rathjen, who earns over $855,000 a year ( Examiner HERE ), has racked up $50,000 travel expenses in less than six months,including three nights at the Sofitel in New York at a cost to the university of more than $1,100 a night.

ABC: The union representing University of Tasmania staff is disappointed the Vice-Chancellor has racked up more than $50,000 travelling the globe in style in less than six months.

Leaked travel records, obtained by the ABC, show Professor Peter Rathjen and his wife travelled to North Carolina, New York and Paris, taking economy, business and first class flights between September and early October last year.

The couple spent three nights at the Sofitel in New York during the trip at a cost to the university of more than $1,100 a night.

The total cost of the trip came to more than $37,000, with the university recorded as footing the bill.

The Vice-Chancellor also spent Christmas and New Year in Cancun, Mexico.

Again the $15,000 trip was charged to the university.

The National Tertiary Education Union state secretary Kelvin Michael was not impressed.

“We hear from staff at the university that workloads remain high and that staff are always being asked to do more with less resources,” he said.

“At a time of high workloads and limited resources, it’s disappointing to some degree that university senior management seem to be spending very high amounts on travel.”

Read the full story HERE

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24 Comments

24 Comments

  1. Robin Charles Halton

    March 10, 2016 at 6:01 pm

    The latest Napoleonic take over of the city is the UTAS Academy for Creative Industries and Performing Arts building to be constructed on the corner of Campbell ST and Collins ST right opposite the Royal Hobart Hospital which is already struggling for expansion space on an already cluttered site.

    Talk about poor inner city planning, the new CRAPA building proposal shows extraordinary misappropriation and total disregard to sensible infrastructure planning in Central Hobart especially given that the $300M redevelopment is well and truly overwhelmed by temporary accomodation being constructed in front of the 1940 Art Deco hospital entry while redevelopment is attempted to bring it up to standard of a modern hospital, one day, maybe!

    In my opinion, the UTAS project defining creative and performing arts at this location ultimatley will be a flop as the world of university degrees should be moving quickly into areas of scentific, technological, environmental and military/national security studies.

    Personally my opinion is that Degreeeeees in Adult Preschool Activities should be curtailed nationally by at least 90%, leave it to MONA to provide the fun and games on the local scene.

  2. Dave Parsell

    March 9, 2016 at 6:29 pm

    $855,000 pa., sure he couldn’t do it for a cent cheaper!

  3. Robin Charles Halton

    March 8, 2016 at 11:41 pm

    #17 Lois Mitchell, steady there , (he) has already received a pay increase of $250 grand to bring his bulging package up to $855 grand, what the hell is going on here, who is he … another Napoleon?

  4. Leonard Colquhoun

    March 8, 2016 at 6:35 pm

    Interesting question to finish Comment 20, “such is the way of life in mendicant impoverished tassie – how long can it last”.

    Some possibilities:

    (i) as long as federal governments need votes from our MPs;

    (ii) as long as we keep electing federal MPs who are usefully feral;

    (iii) until the States have their own sources of funding restored, which they lost by the federal Income Tax Act 1942 and States Grants (Income Tax Reimbursement) Act 1942; read about the trickery used by the Feds to create mendicant States –

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constitutional_basis_of_taxation_in_Australia#The_Loss_of_State_Income_Taxing_Power ;

    (iv) until Tasmania is sold to foreigners / gains independence / discovers it has the world’s sole recoverable source of hypersuperdooperium; or

    (v) until Canberra realises that federations work ‘better than all the rest’, and that centralisationism is for morons, and

    (vi) until our (self-absorbed) cultural elites in academia / the kommentariat / the media / celebistan realise that federations work ‘better than all the rest’, and that centralisationism is for morons.

    (Or, maybe, until Canberra is nuked.)

  5. mike seabrook

    March 8, 2016 at 3:35 pm

    worth every cent look at all the loot he has squeezed out of the feds in canberra and to be spent on structures in tassie

    nearly up there in wilkies league- $600 million for a hobart hospital promised to him by gillard in return to renting his vote to her and ironically now to be paid for by turnbull and morrison at an outrageous scandalous $2 million for each hospital bed.

    such is the way of life in mendicant impoverished tassie – how long can it last.

  6. Leonard Colquhoun

    March 7, 2016 at 2:34 am

    Like the point in Comment , which is like how pollies call every change’ a ‘reform’, and how so few journos have the wit to either (a) question this dubious assumption and / or (b) use quotations marks for ‘reform’ to show us they haven’t been sucked in. (Maybe they are sucked in?)

  7. Trisha Green

    March 7, 2016 at 1:36 am

    The issue is that Peter Rathjen is the VC of a rural and regional university and under his ‘leadership’ the workloads of staff have increased and staff are constantly being told that job losses and reduced resourcing for teaching are the result of ‘budget problems’. If the VC was in charge of a major urban university then spending this much on travel would be absorbed via the massive budget the university would have. Spending the Christmas and NY holiday using the same funds that could have been spent to support staff tends to suggest a lack of concern for the actual working conditions of staff. The fact that his wife works at the university doesn’t change the fact that both Rathjen and his wife appear to have used thousands of dollars of university money to fund a holiday in Mexico… cheaper options would have been available.

  8. Lois Mitchell

    March 6, 2016 at 2:38 pm

    Stop falling over yourselves. He’s a VC. VCs (everywhere) get paid very well, and they travel a lot – that’s the point of the job. His salary is only mid-range… If there are perks negotiated into his contract to supplement it (to a higher level) then it has nothing to do with anybody but him and the University.

    Presumably his staff are responsible for arranging his travel (no VC arranges their own). But wait, someone will complain that the Uni pays someone else to do his admin work!

    And guess what, most University staff capitalise on Uni business-related travel, taking ‘time out’ while somewhere (the second they step foot outside their door for travel they are automatically considered to be ‘on the clock’ AND are allowed 25% time covered by the Uni as personal travel – VC or otherwise). No one has considered that Christmas and New Years may have been bookended by University Business, even if done so on purpose. I am certainly not going to travel half way around the world then be required to return home, because it is Christmas and it might look bad. Combining travel, even if over Christmas, makes more sense as it probably saved several airfares at different times.

    I will add ‘his wife’ (written that way to make it look worse) also works for the University in a number of capacities, she’s not just along for the ride.

    You’re in Tasmania – it costs a fortune just to get out of the state to the mainland!

  9. Robin Charles Halton

    March 5, 2016 at 7:39 pm

    The first three letters of his surname indicate a species of rodent, that should have made it easy to spot the problem in the first place.

    Trapping him at his game has to be a good move to prevent the whole affair from occuring again, we hope, and no wonder UTAS staff are disgusted at his brazen globe trotting exploits.

    Mr Rat will lose respect and trust as the CEO of UTAS, thats for sure.

    Chancellor Michael Field a man of small stature with big ambitions, a failed politician another from Labor who tried to sooth over the Greens, didnt work never would, who could trust his judgement of the C as they both feed from the same trough.

    Damn the world standing nonsense look after the local institution first and foremost.

  10. Peter

    March 5, 2016 at 6:33 pm

    It’s hard to believe Mr Rathjen had legitimate UTAS-related business in Cancún, Mexico. I’d guess its attraction was its location and ‘…energetic nightlife’.

    ‘Cancún, a Mexican city on the Yucatán Peninsula bordering the Caribbean Sea, is known for its beaches, numerous resorts and energetic nightlife.’

    Here’s a global university rankings table that includes UTAS and several Cancún institutions:

    2016 University Web Ranking
    http://www.4icu.org

    University of Tasmania – 545

    Cancún:

    Universidad del Caribe – 7,436
    Universidad Anáhuac Cancún – 8,526
    Universidad La Salle Canc̼n A.C. Р8,678
    Instituto Tecnológico de Cancún – 10,118

  11. TV Resident

    March 5, 2016 at 2:14 pm

    How do these people become so overcome with their own self importance??…. In my opinion he should be made to pay back his extravagances. The UTAS has to put up the fees for degrees to cover this man …

  12. Peter

    March 5, 2016 at 1:17 pm

    Move along, nothing to see – UTAS

    THE University of Tasmania says about $52,000 in travel expenses racked up by its vice-chancellor in six months has not breached any policy.

    UTAS chancellor Michael Field said there was nothing untoward about the spending and that travel was necessary to maintain the university’s “world standing”.

    http://www.examiner.com.au/story/3771352/rathjens-travel-bill-fine/?cs=95

    I fully agree with the comments in #8

  13. Karl Stevens

    March 5, 2016 at 11:42 am

    I understand Vice-Chancellor Rathjen’s research interests include genetically modifying mammals.
    New Years Eve in Cancun is a bit like the Rio Carnival. Its where a lot of human DNA is being recombined at the same time.
    This could potentially be UTAS business for reasons I don’t want to go into other than to note the job title is ‘Vice Chancellor’.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Rathjen

  14. Carol Rea

    March 5, 2016 at 10:42 am

    Reading the full article it looks like UTAS have provided very good ‘conditions’ in addition to remuneration. Perhaps the travel policy needs an overhaul.
    Rathjen seems to have negotiated a very satisfactory package for himself.

  15. Trisha Green

    March 4, 2016 at 11:22 pm

    I can’t imagine how Christmas and New Year in Cancun could be on University business. How on earth did he convince the university to pay for what looks like a holiday, especially as any university in Cancun would be closed at that time? It sounds a bit like ‘Cancun Gate’ to me.

  16. Karl Stevens

    March 4, 2016 at 9:58 pm

    Luigi 7. I would say the trip to Cancun was definitely UTAS business. Especially on NYE.

    Thanks moderator for editing my over-zealous comment at 1.

  17. eagle eye

    March 4, 2016 at 8:41 pm

    No Luigi, it is the quantum of the cost. That cost, added to the “in your face waste” that is the relocation of perfectly good facilities to new and “better” locations that just happen to be on land that will hopefully be worth more in the future because it is closer to the CBD of the locations in question is a waste of other peoples’ money.

    Rathjen is engaging in a restructure of the state’s university from an education focused enterprise into a real estate focused enterprise, all at the considerable expense of poor students who are forced to borrow money to fund this extravagance. All at a time when the same university is preaching a message that the benefits of its products, the degrees, need to be spread far and wide to lift the state’s productivity.

    A competent minister would have put him back in his box some time ago. The whole thing is nothing but an exercise in the vanities of the elites at the expense of the proles. Once upon a time the students would be in open revolt, but years of subtle social engineering have successfully bred that natural impulse out of them.

  18. Luigi

    March 4, 2016 at 8:16 pm

    Surely the issue is not the quantum of the cost; rather, it’s whether he was travelling on Uni business or not.

  19. Whuteezname

    March 4, 2016 at 7:26 pm

    There is an interesting story here but there are sad observations are there to be made too.

    This line-up is of variously discredited men. The middle one’s inadequacies (?) are human and possibly even relatively excusable but those of the characters on his flanks probably need to be investigated.

    Is hubris a sin, a crime or a characteristic?

    But selling an idea that has no substance in some circumstances is inexcusable. Selling a silly business idea without a business plan to a bunch of council people is on one hand clever but on the other its the equivalent of stealing lollies from children.

    Clearly our prisons are full of the wrong kind of people. The ones that didn’t get away with it! The thing about accountability is that it leads to response-ability.

    But please let’s not be having any of that!

  20. Richard Barton

    March 4, 2016 at 5:19 pm

    Why is van Zetten wearing mayoral chains? Did he get the wrong invitation or did Rathjen & Green not wear their finery for some reason?

    If van Zzzzzz is dressed to impress then he fails dismally – but then he’s never impressed. Perhaps his repeated failure to impress has him trying the ‘mayoral chains’ approach out of sheer desperation.

    Does he wear those things to the shops?

  21. Casey

    March 4, 2016 at 12:06 pm

    The first sentence of the report
    “UNIVERSITY of Tasmania vice-chancellor Peter Rathjen, who earns over $855,000 a year ”

    should replace “earns” with “is paid”.

    Who ‘earns’ $100 an hour, EVERY hour, whether awake, asleep, reading the news, socialising, flying to USA or perhaps even at work for some of hours? $100 every hour!

    But hey, I’m one of those ‘leaning’ pensioners, what would I know?

    Casey.

  22. Chris

    March 4, 2016 at 11:49 am

    $850,000 is hardly worth getting out of bed for, this amount could buy 8 Pyne degrees and that would be an achievement.
    Budget responsibly.

  23. Yon Kikkert

    March 4, 2016 at 10:30 am

    Congratulations to the person who leaked these details to the ABC. Elite management of public institutions rely in part on opaque accountability to allow their bloodsucking to proceed undisrupted. I have no doubt there will now be frenetic activity by the insular chiefs at the top to weed out the mole. Nothing motivates them more.

    The VC received a payrise last year in August in excess of $250K to bring him up to over $855K. Even the prime minister gets ‘only’ $507K. Maybe Mr Rathjen went on his $51Kjaunt the month after to celebrate. Meanwhile, the coal face work of high quality teaching – where UTAS should be trying to excel on the world stage – continues to be hollowed out and stripped of funding.

  24. Karl Stevens

    March 4, 2016 at 9:07 am

    It’s comforting to know (questionable gentlemen) are still running the system …

    (edited)

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